Among the modern graves in this vast cemetery are some ruined mud-brick domed tombs, some of which go back to the 9th century. The domes are built on a drum with corners sticking out like horns, a feature unique to southern Egypt. Tombs decorated with flags belong to local saints; you may see Aswanis circumambulating a tomb, praying for the saint’s intercession.

The municipality of Aswan has fenced off the Fatimid Cemetery. Enter from the main gate, a 10-minute walk from the Corniche along the road to the airport, and walk right through the cemetery to join the road to the Unfinished Obelisk; just aim for the four-storey building facing the back of the cemetery. The site’s caretaker will often accompany you and show you the best-preserved tombs, for which he should be given a baksheesh (tip) of a few pounds.